Not headed to Indy for the men's B1G basketball tournament? We have the perfect recipe for your watch party!
One of the tricky things about basketball tournament season is that the early tournament games are often on a work night. It can be hard to find the time to make great food for your watch party when you're rushing home from the office to catch the game. Luckily, MSU alum Bob Benenson (Telecommunications, 1977) has your back. His BBQ pulled pork recipe cooks in the crock pot, so you can prepare it before work or on your lunch hour and it will be ready for tip-off!
Crockpot BBQ Pork
Start with a good-sized slab of pork shoulder roast. This one in the photos is about four and a half pounds.
Rub with vegetable oil and season to taste. I have used liberal sprinklings of salt, black pepper, granulated garlic and smoked paprika, which turns out mildly spiced, and a prepared blend called Brisket of Love Barbeque Rub from The Spice House in Chicago, which gives a little extra zing from ingredients such as cayenne and ancho chili.
Brown the meat on all sides over medium-high heat, about 8-10 minutes total.
Place the roast in a crockpot on the low setting with between a half-cup and cup of water, depending on the weight of the meat. (I used a half-cup for a two-pound cut and a full cup for this 4.5-pounder.)
Cook for at least six hours and as much as eight on the low setting. Check the roast beginning at hour six for doneness... the meat is ready when you can shred it easily with a fork.
Remove to a plate or cutting board, let cool for a few minutes, and then shred into bite-sized chunks using a pair of forks (if too warm to handle comfortably) or your fingers (if cooled enough - faster but messier).
Ladle or pour the collected juices from the crockpot into a fat separator, one of those measuring-cup-looking things with a long spout. (Careful! Use hot pads because the crockery is very hot.) Pour the juices from the separator into a measuring cup, tossing the fat that collects on the bottom of the separator, then add about a cup back to the crockpot while reserving the rest.
Add and stir in a bottle of prepared barbecue sauce or the equivalent amount of homemade sauce. For this batch, I used Brownwood Farms’ Northern Michigan Cherry Barbeque Sauce, which I purchased at a Whole Foods Market in Chicago, which was more sweet than spicy. I’ve also used an excellent jar of Jesse Lee’s Barbecue, a sweet and spicy blend made by Jesse Graff, a friend in Chicago, but this will not be widely available commercially until later this year.
Add more of the reserved juices until you reach your preferred consistency: less if you like a thicker sauce, more if you want lots and lots of a thinner sauce.
Add the shredded pork to the sauce and heat to blend.
At this point, the pork is ready to be served, either on a plate or on hamburger buns. Get the sturdy kind if it’s the latter, because that sauce will soak through quickly. Or you can refrigerate and reheat. Like many dishes with barbecue or chili sauces, this shredded pork often tastes better the next day. And the day after, in the unlikely event that it lasts that long.
You can read more of Bob's adventures with food at his website: http://goodfoodoneverytable.com/.
Read more about the MSU post-season play, including details for the NCAA tournament at: http://alumni.msu.edu/spartancentral.